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Let There Be Light (1946) 2006 NR CC

Available on Prime
4.2 out of 5 stars (11) IMDb 7.7/10

A dramatic documentary about combat neurosis and the treatment of those suffering from it.

Starring:
Walter Huston
Runtime:
57 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Military & War, Documentary
Director John Huston
Starring Walter Huston
Studio Synergy Ent
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
Film was shot in a hospital in Long Island New York. When I worked for the Army Pictorial Center we were not permitted to release the film in part because the releases signed by the patients could not be found in the file files. The real reason was claimed to be that the US Government, at the time, was concerned with public reaction to the film showing soldiers who were "shell-shocked". It is unfortunate that the director of this film, Walter Houston, is no longer with us to see his important work released to the public.
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Amazing work by Huston will humble your heart as you watch these real soldiers--not actors--work through what we now call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The medical specialists listened to the soldiers, bullied a little bit when necessary and treated them respectfully and honestly. Caring medical professionals used the meager tools of that era helping soldiers understand what happened to them, why they reacted as they did and how to cope with their issues.

I found out about Huston's documentary from a neurologist friend who knew of my interest in history. He too was impressed by Huston's attention to detail and artistic vision. Believe it or not, you will be watching a previously censored film here! After his own viewing, General George Marshall refused to release it to the public because he feared public backlash. Even President Truman did not know about it.

It would be a tremendously useful film for today's public and military to watch, whether they have PTSD themselves or not. It is an open, honest, caring look at soldiers pushed past their breaking points and how they found the strength to pull themselves back.

The film was finally released in 1981 and remastered for modern format, but no effort was made to publicize it. A word of mouth campaign has finally brought well deserved attention . It's a short watch, but really worth your time. You won't regret it.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The patients come in shell shocked or what today is called Post Truamatic Stress Disordered PTSD and they leave better functioning battle scarred human beings. In this movie no veteran goes on to live sad, deluded and half crazy on the streets of the inner city. Nope the veterans here all readjust and are sent home to loving supportive families and or wives. the film puts one in mind of The Naked City in its attempt to honestly protray the journey of damaged fighting man back to civilized caring human being. You walk with the men on their journey seeing medical and mental health doctors (psychiatrists) go through the slow painstaking process of helping battle weary GI's rediscover and reassert their true honorable humanity.

Let There Be Light tries as hard as it can to give you a real world sense of what its like to come back from the hell of war broken as an army of doctors work tirelessly to make you well. Unfortunately Let There Be Light does not exactly have the ring of truth to it in some cases because; returning good fighting men to sanity is often a long slow painful process frought with setbacks and tears. It is not that Let There Be Light did not try to portray the recovery of men from battle fatique as best it could. Its just the film format means healing times shown had to be compressed so the progress men made overcoming their demons whizzed by like a Henry Ford inspired Moving Assembly line.

Let There Be Light could not take its time and reveal a fighting mans true journey back to sanity and humanity so in places the recoveries were nothing short of spectacular if unreal. What Let There Be Light did well is it helps people have understanding and compassion for the fighting man returning from war.
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John Huston's Let There Be Light is dated as so many people say, but it remains a fascinating look at how the armed forces tried to rehabilitate emotionally troubled soldiers after World War Two. Sadly, the film was considered so controversial at the time that the government wouldn't let it be released for more than thirty years after it was made! The film shows how badly emotionally scarred some men became as a result of their horrific experiences in combat during the war.

The narration is good and the film does its best to follow four or five men through their roughly eight to ten week stay at a hospital where they are treated for their problems. Diagnostic terms of yesteryear are used along with methods that would be shunned today as too confrontational with doctors practically barking at patients to get them functioning very quickly. The film glosses over the fact that post-traumatic stress disorder can't be cured in eight to ten weeks.

The film also shows how the men were required to participate in sports to bring them out of their shells and to help them interact with people although "group therapy" classes are just that--a classroom environment in which the doctor essentially taught them about their illnesses and how to overcome it all with patients only sporadically speaking their minds.

Believe it or not, there's even more in this film that I haven't mentioned and there are many poignant moments. My heart truly went out to these men.

I recommend Let There Be Light for anyone interested in how PTSD was treated back in the mid-20th century; people interested in psychology and psychiatry in general would also do well to add this film to their collections.
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